Senior General's Grandson Orders Attack on Business Rival
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Senior General's Grandson Orders Attack on Business Rival

By YAN PAI Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Nay Shwe Thway Aung, center, stands next to his grandfather, Snr-Gen Than Shwe, as the Burmese junta leader is greeted upon arrival in Beijing on Sept. 7. (Photo: Reuters)

Nay Shwe Thway Aung (also known as Poe La Pyae), the grandson of Burmese junta chief Snr-Gen Than Shwe, recently ordered his personal assistants to beat up the son of a former general for business reasons, according to sources.

A businessman close to the military regime told The Irrawaddy that the problem began when Win Htwe Hlaing, the son of former Maj-Gen Win Hlaing, tried to take over a real estate deal that Nay Shwe Thway Aung had already negotiated with a client.

“Poe La Pyae asked one of his friends to tell Win Htwe Hlaing to withdraw from the land he had already reserved. But Win Htwe Hlaing, as a general's son, replied that he didn't care who Poe La Pyae was,” said the businessman.

He said the junta chief's grandson was angered by this response and told his assistants to physically assault Win Htwe Hlaing. The attack was carried out by army officers with the ranks of major and captain, he said.

Win Htwe Hlaing, 31, whose face was injured in the beating, is an internationally recognized golf player and member of the Professional Golfers' Association.

His father, Maj-Gen Win Hlaing, was a major when Than Shwe was serving as the commander of Light Infantry Division 88, a position he held in the early 1980s. He reportedly taught Than Shwe how to play golf and was known as the senior general's second favorite subordinate after his current personal assistant, Maj-Gen Ne Win.

Before his retirement from the army, Win Hlaing served as the director of the Directorate of Procurement in the Ministry of Defense, the managing director of the Union of Myanmar Economic Holdings, Limited (UMEHL) and the chairman of the state-owned Myawaddy Bank.

According to army sources, Win Hlaing asked his former colleagues in the military to press the police to identify those who hit his son, but Ne Win told him not to continue investigating the case as it was masterminded by Nay Shwe Thway Aung.

Last year, there were reports of a similar incident, in which Nay Shwe Thway Aung allegedly ordered some of his associates to destroy a coffee shop called 7 Lekker, run by former captain Tay Zar Saw Oo, the son of the regime's Secretary 1 Gen Thiha Thura Tin Aung Myint Oo, and the son of National  Planning Minister Soe Tha.

In another incident demonstrating Nay Shwe Thway Aung's overbearing attitude toward those connected with other senior officials, he once spent two hours chastising an army captain who served as the personal assistant of the regime's Foreign Minister Nyan Win for blocking his parking space, according to a UMEHL employee.

Nay Shwe Thway Aung has also been accused of making money by using his grandfather's influence to help businesses claim illegally imported goods, including vehicles, confiscated by customs officials at various seaports.

Nay Shwe Thway Aung is known to be particularly close to his grandfather, and has accompanied him on state visits on several occasions. In September of this year, he joined Than Shwe on a high-profile trip to China along with his grandmother and aunts. 

According to US diplomatic cables revealed by Wikileaks, Nay Shwe Thway Aung urged Than Shwe to buy the Manchester United football team for US $1 billion in January of last year. Than Shwe reportedly abandoned the plan, however, because he decided “that sort of expenditure could look bad” in the aftermath of Cyclone Nargis, which killed more than 130,000 people in May 2008.

Than Shwe finally opted to create the Myanmar National League, the very first multi-million-dollar soccer league in the country, financed by his cronies who would in turn receive government incentives such as “construction contracts, new gem and jade mines, and import permits,” the cables revealed.

According to business sources in Burma, several top generals and leading businessmen have told their children to avoid getting into any sort of confrontation with Nay Shwe Thway Aung.

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